The Oil Barrel Project This page presents entry JTO2007 to the ARES-UIA international architectural competition on 'Renewable Energy Sources & Bioclimatic Architecture for shells, to shelter people affected by natural disasters'.


Project architects:

Thanos N. Stasinopoulos
Phaethon Psichis

Design team:

Earth Architecture
Phaethon Psichis, Orestis Borbantonakis, Juliette Sohier

Thanos N. Stasinopoulos


Links to:

Discussion (blog)

Competition official site

Competition awards

click on the thumbnails for a reduced image of the 6 entry panels [1024x723 JPG ~1MB each]

#1: Concept#2: Environmental Response#3: Self-help Construction
#4: Organic Multi-Camp#5: Architectural System#6: Self-Contained Network

Design Description cover full Design Description
[PDF 900kB]

The Oil Barrel Project in brief

This proposal addresses an environmental disaster caused by wide scale contamination due to human negligence.

It focuses on the Niger Delta region where a growing accumulation of soil-, water- and air-pollution has already affected the lives of several thousand people, pressing them to flee from the advancing catastrophe.

A key feature of the design is a structural system based on the abundant oil barrels of the area. It is used to compile an organic network where each hub includes others -or is included in another- of a similar circular 'daisy-like' structure.

The environmental issues of the entire project, from dwellings to camp, have been considered through the 4 Elements philosophical prism, i.e. the varied aspects of energy, water, air, and matter.

The proposal is based on the participation of the locals in self-help schemes from dwelling construction to camp operation, as an elemental method not only for reducing costs but mainly for enabling the distressed refugees to regain their everyday lives and dignity.

Assumptions & Objectives

Our goal is to provide not just temporary shelter, but also a basic framework for living as close to normal as possible. In that, we make the following assumptions:

  • Local participation: The locals will widely participate in the whole process, both in constructing and operating the compound.
  • Shelter & infrastructure: Dwellings should be combined with the vital infrastructure for water, sanitation and electricity that should be available in short time and at minimum cost.
  • 'Physical networks' (i.e. solar or PV panels, cables & pipes of any kind) are not considered feasible to be used in large scale (e.g. in each dwelling) due to their cost and complexity; therefore they are provided only in focal points where they are treated as communal assets.
    In some functions -e.g. water or sewage- they are replaced by 'human networks', i.e. the allocation of certain duties and responsibilities among the population.
  • Local resources: Materials should be cheap and locally available, requiring the minimum possible building skills and minimizing the need of snipping from faraway.
  • Maximum self-support: The refugees should be engaged in productive activities -like small scale farming and manufacture- in order to support themselves with their own means as much as possible.
  • Uninterrupted everyday life: Besides physical needs, the compound should offer provisions for basic social and spiritual matters, like religion, leisure, or communal activities.
  • Decentralized & flexible, yet coherent structure: The physical and functional scheme should allow various levels of autonomy and self-reliance within a collective association.
  • Unknown life-span: The whole scheme should allow for short and long staying, perhaps even for a permanent relocation if need be, therefore it should facilitate the transformation of the refugee compound into a long-term settlement.
  • Unknown size: The population affected by the hypothetical disaster is unknown, hence the layout should accommodate any number of refugees, perhaps coming in stages.

 page first posted by TNS, 03.10.07 | this version 10.10.07